PHX Startup Week is taking place February 19 through 23 in downtown Phoenix at the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center.

October 26, 2017

AZ Business Magazine

Venture Madness calls for nominations, changes format

Do you have a startup? If yes, well, then you better submit your applications for the 2018 Venture Madness conference by Nov. 30 for a chance to win thousands of dollars in cash prizes. 

This year, Venture Madness has four categories companies can compete in, with the winner of each category splitting a $10,000 cash prize. One company will also be taking home an additional $10,000 grand prize. 

Venture Madness is a yearly live pitch competition, hosted by Invest Southwest and the Arizona Commerce Authority. Last year, Clean Router took home a $10,000 prize as the Venture Madness champion.  

The call for applications started today. Companies can submit applications here. 

In the past, Venture Madness has been a multi-day event, but this year’s competition will be presented through a new one-day format to find the best tech companies in the Southwest. Venture Madness hopes to provide a more attractive schedule for outside investors to attend the event and more time for presenting companies to focus on running their businesses.  

This year, categories have been implemented too. The four categories and criteria for this year’s Venture Madness are:  

  • SaaS Launch: open to SaaS/Software companies who are still developing their product or working to find product market fit. Revenue criteria: pre-revenue up to $250,000 in the last 6 months. Capital criteria: bootstrapped up to $500,000 raised from outside investors (friends, family, angels or VCs). 
  • SaaS Scale: open to SaaS/Software companies who are generating consistent revenue and have found product market fit. Revenue criteria: $250,000 – $1.5 million in revenue in the last 6 months. Capital criteria: less than $3 million raised from investors. 
  • Hardware Tech: open to companies building physical products like wearables, IoT devices, drones, robotics, 3D printing, space tech, AR/VR, Ag Tech, new materials, etc. No revenue criteria. Capital criteria: less than $3 million raised from investors. 
  • Deep Tech: Companies working on software solutions with machine learning, artificial intelligence, blockchain, computational imaging and recognition, etc. No revenue criteria. Capital criteria: less than $3 million raised from investors. 

“Venture Madness has become an annual tradition that the entrepreneurial and investment communities look forward to,” said Nate Mortensen, Invest Southwest’s 2018 chair. “We’re excited about the changes this year and anticipate a valuable event with more opportunities for startups and investors to connect, build relationships, and learn.” 

The Venture Madness conference will include a networking reception on Monday, Jan. 29, 2017, with the pitch competition taking place on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2017 at Galvanize Phoenix. The call for entries begins Oct. 26, 2017 and closes at 3 p.m. MST on Nov. 30, 2017. Six finalists in each category will be chosen to pitch live in concurrent competitions with winners selected immediately. The top four will then go on to present a second time with an overall Venture Madness Champion crowned at the close of the conference. 

Invest Southwest is also holding a free Get Ready Seminar on Nov. 2, 2017 at Galvanize Phoenix. The seminar is designed to educate applicants on what the judges are looking for in the competition’s application and pitch, as well as how to capture investor interest.